Squeezing more life out of a 2012 Mac Mini

I currently have a 2012 Mac Mini (i7, 16GB RAM, 250GB SSD) and I’m eyeing the new 2018 Mini but still not quite ready to pull the trigger. When I go I’m almost definitely going to go all-in with 64 GB RAM and 1 TB SSD.

Lately I’ve been getting beach balls for just seemingly random stuff. Checking mail, switching between lots of browser tabs, etc. Stuff that wasn’t beach balling before.

I could obviously reinstall. But I’m also wondering if there are any optimization tips that y’all have. Got any favorite software for cleaning / fixing / tweaking for performance?

I have to believe that a quad-core i7 with 16 GB should still be a very capable machine. Thoughts?

I have an original 2015 Retina MacBook with half the RAM, and half the cores, and a CPU that isn’t anywhere near as capable as an i7 for the cores that it does have, and while the machine is a bit pokey for everyday thing, I don’t get beach balls. I think that for everyday mundane things, you should not be seeing a lot of beach balls either. What does your swap usage look like when it’s happening?

I agree. Have you run any kind of tests on your RAM and HD?

I use CleanMyMac to keep the cruft at bay.

You could also run https://inchwest.com/diskmark/ to see if your drive is slowing down.

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I own the once top-of-the-line 2012 i7 mini with 16Gb RAM and 1Tb drive. Haven’t touched it in over a year since I got my 27" Retina iMac. I’d say that up to the point I stopped using it its speed was generally acceptable for many standard apps and uses, but the addition of an external SSD as a startup drive made a big difference in extending its life. Even with that, some apps that taxes the CPU/GPU, like Lightroom and Photoshop, were painfully slow at times.

When I ran into “random” problems with a Mac, one of the first things I did was set up a new user account and try to replicate the problem(s). Macs are not as bad as Windows machines, but they do build up cruft. Sometimes it is limited to a specific account.

But, IMO, when in doubt as to what is causing a problem, format the hard drive and do a clean install of the OS and the programs. Then copy your data to the new account. Don’t try to restore any settings, etc. Set up everything from scratch.

If you do all that, and things don’t improve, it greatly increases the probability of a hardware problem.

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Just in case you haven’t unload the desktop to less then say 4GB.
Run Onyx Titanium with all options checked (perhaps you might want to leave messages unchecked) you will have to reboot the Machine of course. Needless to say back-up back-up back-up before you do any of this.


Was that instead of a 1TB spinning disk? Or was your 1TB disk originally an SSD?

What would you suggest for testing RAM? I ran the test mentioned below on the HD and I/O looks to be good, speed-wise.

Standard 1Tb internal HDD.
Later bought external SSD to use as boot drive.

I use a command line program called memtest.

I’ll look it up. Thanks!